What measurements should I provide for custom-sized clothes / footwear?

Custom sizes for clothing

If you’re getting your clothing custom-sized, the basic info required by most sellers is as follows:
Height, bust, waist, hips, shoulder width, biological gender.
Provide all measurements in cm.

Sellers may specify the measurements they need, so please follow that as much as possible.

Feel free to use your good judgement and common sense to provide additional information. If the outfit has sleeves, then provide your desired sleeve length. If it’s a top and a skirt, then provide your preferred length of top and length of skirt. If you often find sleeves tight on your arm, you might wish to provide the circumference of your upper arm. And so forth. There is no guarantee that the tailor will use all the measurements that they did not ask for, but if they notice that the clothing may not fit at certain parts, they can inform us.

On the other hand, do not over-complicate measurements. For example, if it’s a simple pair of pants, don’t split it up into parts and provide thigh length, length of calf and whatnot. No tailor will go to that extent to make it so exact to your body unless it’s your personal tailor. Pants length will do. That said, please understand that it is not quite possible to get a 100% exact fit when you have your clothing custom-made online by someone who hasn’t seen you in person. If you’re particular about the fit, you may have to be prepared to have a local tailor adjust your outfit.

For measurement of body parts, do provide your actual body measurements. The tailor will translate this to garment measurements accordingly so you do not have to incorporate a buffer.

Custom sizes for shoes

For boots, you generally need to provide: Physical gender, Chinese shoe size, boot height, circumference of opening in cm. For shoes with no extension beyond the ankle, you’d just need to provide your Chinese shoe size.


Regarding clothes, what size should I choose?

Standard sizes for Clothing

Standard sizes i.e. S, M, L, XL and One-size only pieces differ for different stores and even different items from the same store. Never assume that just because you usually wear a certain size back home, the same size from the Taobao store will fit you. Size is just a label on Taobao.

The good thing is, the measurements of each size and item will usually be stated in the item’s description in cm. Online translations tend to do a decent job with translating them, but if the seller uses images for the size chart, the translator can’t pick it up, so knowing what the relevant terms are will be helpful. Here are some common ones:

身高: Height
肩宽/肩寬: Shoulder width
胸围/胸圍: Bust
腰围/腰圍: Waist
臀围/臀圍: Hips

衣长/衣長: Length of whole outfit / Length of top
裤长/褲長: Length of pants
裙长/裙長: Length of skirt, may sometimes refer to length of a whole dress too
袖长/袖長: Length of sleeve

男: Male size
女: Female size

All sizes are in cm. Measurements stated may not be spot-on due to a variety of reasons. Please expect slight differences of around +/- 2 to 3 cm.

You should thus find out your own measurements in cm first in order to choose the most fitting size. There are lots of guides on taking your own measurements which apply internationally, so I won’t go into that. If you really need help, feel free to ask.

Standard sizes for shoes

Shoes on Taobao generally take on Chinese sizes, which are very similar to European size, but usually about 0.5 larger. To get an accurate Chinese size for your feet, you will need to measure the length of your sole.

The upper row indicates the Chinese shoe size while the lower row indicates the corresponding length of sole in mm.

However, if the width of your feet tends to give you issues (e.g. if you have wide feet or bunions), you may wish to provide the width of your feet as well so I can check it out on Taobao’s feet size calculator. They have a very good one here but unfortunately you need to be logged in to see it.

Here’s a simple guide to measuring your foot length and width: http://www.wikihow.com/Find-Your-Shoe-Size
Do work with cm/mm instead of inches.

Most of us have one foot slightly larger than the other. Make sure you provide the size of your larger foot unless you don’t mind it being pinched throughout the day.

Some shoes may run large or small. This information may be available in the seller’s description, or in the customers’ reviews.

Is this a pre-order or is it in stock?

Here are some useful terms that may show up in the item name:

定金 / ding金:Downpayment (usually for a pre-order). Usually the listed price will be significantly lower than the actual price.


尾款 / 尾kuan: Remainder payment of a previous pre-order. You can’t purchase it if you did not participate in said preorder.

定做 / 定制: Make to order

现货:In stock

无现货: No available stock (in other words, it must be pre-ordered)

If you’re not sure, just ask me or send your order and I’ll advise you accordingly.

Do you take orders for pre-order / split-payment listings?

Yes, I do. Bear in mind that in the case of split-payment listings, or pre-orders where the downpayment has to be confirmed and released in advance to the seller, 99% of such pre-orders are non-refundable. Also, if the release date is delayed, this would not be grounds for cancellation / refund.

Is my personal information safe with you?

Your personal information will only be shared with the relevant parties who are involved in processing your order/shipment. Order-specific information like body measurements will be shared with the seller. Shipping information will be shared with the postal service / courier and the logistics agent handling your parcel. Aside from that, I will not give your information to anyone else.

Do you accept group orders?

Yes. There are two ways we can do this.

1) I handle orders, payment and communication with only one group order leader.

2) I treat everyone’s orders as separate orders, so payment and orders will be communicated separately with each member. When it comes to shipping arrangements, one person handles the payment for shipping fees. The disadvantage of this method is that even if individual members are ordering items from the same seller, it will not be possible to benefit from associated discounts and bulk purchase.

I need to receive my items by _____ date. Can you make it happen?

No, I can’t. I don’t own the postal services or the shops, so it’s not up to me to promise you a date that you’ll receive your items. For made-to-order products, bear in mind that production time frame estimations given by sellers are generally just estimations. They are subject to delays. Even the most reputable of sellers overshoot promised deadlines for various reasons. This isn’t something within my control. Covid-19 has made things more complicated, particularly in China, and I can only ensure that sellers eventually send out your purchase or try to ask them to cancel your order and give a refund.

Can you help me search for products?

  • I can help you to search for specific items, but I will require photos/pictures, or as much relevant information as you can provide.
  • I can advise you on some keywords that you can use to do your search.
  • Tip: Taobao has a function that allows you to search by uploading a photo.
  • I have a Xianyu account and, depending on the nature of the product that you’re looking for, I can help you to make want-to-buy listings for free.

What items cannot be purchased?

  • Flammable items (including fragrances, alcohol, nail polish, lighter)
  • Precious metals (gold, silver)
  • Cigarettes
  • Fresh food
  • Live animals
  • Plants (includes seeds and flowers)
  • Hazardous products like weapons. Includes props that resemble weapons as well, notably guns and blades.

Some types of products are prohibited by certain shipping methods. These are usually products of sensitive nature and shipping them by a sensitive shipping route tends to be significantly pricier than other methods. If shipping costs are a concern for you, please avoid the following types of products so you don’t limit your shipping options:

  • Any type of food product, including dried goods and snacks
  • Any type of product with powder
  • Any type of product with liquid (e.g. make-up, pens)
  • Products containing magnetic fields and batteries, which rules out most electronic gadgets.